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 Post subject: Catamount MFS
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:17 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
Greetings fellow riders!

I wanted to start a thread for the Catamount MFS full suspension bike (1995-2001) because info on these bikes is hard to track down, even online.

There is a thread I started over on MTBR, but I think it's more appropriate over here on a retro based forum since we like the old stuff here.

More to come...


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 Post subject: Re: Catamount MFS
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:39 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
First off, here is my recently rebuilt Catamount.

It's been hanging in the attic since 2004. I retired it and transferred the parts over to a Turner Burner back then, as I was riding rougher trails and wanted a more active rear suspsension.

After reading that John Castellano recently introduced a new URT bike in 2010 called the Castellano Zorro, I went upstairs and pulled down the frame and decided to build it up with the parts I had in the bin, a medley of old and new parts. It's by no means meant to be an authentic build. Just wanted something fun to ride and to see how the bike rode now in 2010.

I kept the old Sunrace thumbies on there with an XTR 952 rear der. The fork is an 04 Manitour Minute set to 100mm. The CNC'd rear v-brake is a BMX brake from FMF.

And yes, the tires are a bit mad. I got them free years ago at a bike event. They ride well surprisingly, similar to the WTB Nanoraptors with it's small knobs. Good my hardpack and fireroad trails here in the California. And they add a bit of fun, and I think bikes should be fun.

I like the shape of the frame. The two halves almost look like a reversed mirror image of each other. The square tubes of the rear swingarm is my favorite part of the bike.

Catamount also made the Barracuda Cuda Cat, which Slow6 recently posted in his thread.

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Last edited by catamount rider on Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:42 pm 
East Midlands AEC
East Midlands AEC
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:45 pm
Posts: 15067
Location: Derby, UK
NIce to see something a bit different :D


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 Post subject: Geometry & Fit Chart
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:53 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
Original geometry & fit chart.

Note: The size listed as "Larry" is a reference to one of the owners of the company, Larry Pastor.

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 Post subject: Original Homepage
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:02 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
Here's a screenshot of the old Catamount Homepage

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:06 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
orange71 wrote:
NIce to see something a bit different :D


Thank you!

It's become quite the conversation piece during stops on the trail and when I am just on the street. I guess it really does look different.


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 Post subject: FAQ from old site
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:09 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
Here is the text of original Catamount FAQ section of the site:

GREETINGS FROM CATAMOUNT CYCLES

Thanks for expressing an interest in purchasing a Catamount. You can buy directly from Catamount Cycles. When you purchase a Catamount, detailed instructions are provided to help you set up your suspension to get the maximum performance from your bike.

There are many differences between a Catamount and other full suspension bikes you may be interested in. The following information will help you to become a better informed and educated cyclist.

How rigid is the Catamount frame?

Remember, you want as rigid a frame as possible. One of the most important aspects of a bicycle frame is the lateral (side to side) flex. If there is lateral flex at the bottom bracket and the rear triangle, the riding performance will decrease. The more movement there is the more problems. Your chain will rub against the front derailleur, your gears will ghost shift, and the rear wheel will not track straight causing you to lose traction. The Catamount has one of the stiffest bottom bracket there is on full suspension bicycles. In fact, the bottom bracket of a Catamount is stiffer than many rigid hard tail bikes. The rear triangle has NO LATERAL FLEX, so the rear wheel will track directly under you in all riding conditions. A Catamount combines the plushness of 4.5 inches of rear wheel travel with the rigidity of a hard tail to produce the best climbing full suspension bike. You will climb faster with less effort riding a Catamount. Usually you will find yourself riding in one or two gears higher due to the tremendous traction you have from the rear wheel digging into the trail.

Zap Espinoza of Mountain Bike Magazine writes, "... we came away thinking that the Catamount had a tighter rear end/one bike feel...This is no doubt due to the wider pivot, the bottom bracket's triangulation, and the massive 7/8 inch-square tubing used throughout the rear triangle. The result is a nice, unified ride".

How many pivots does the frame have?

All the multi-pivot bikes have problems with the pivots loosening up, and this will cause serious performance problems. The Catamount uses a unique bushing and pivot pin system. There is only one large pivot. A Catamount will not have loose pivot problems. The bushings are self lubricating and are designed to operate in a wet and dirty environment, so there is never a need to do any maintenance.

Mountain Bike Magazine writes, "Another selling point with the Catamount is the single pivot, which... needs zero maintenance".

How light is the frame?

The 18" Catamount SL frame without a rear shock weighs 5 pounds. Mountain Bike Magazine writes, "The Catamount offers real race-worthy performance".

How plush is the ride?

One of the great advantages of Catamount's unified rear triangle design is the incredible plushness of the ride. The Catamount will make wash board roads feel like smooth pavement, and it will allow you to ride over rocks the size of bowling balls without having to get out of the saddle. The plush ride of a Catamount will allow you to remain seated during steep, rocky, and technical climbs. When out of the saddle there is still 2.25 inches of travel, so the suspension can absorb the impact energy of an unweighted hit.

On descents you just slide backwards on your saddle and stay seated. This provides excellent traction to the rear wheel, and with 4.5 inches of travel you can ride through steep, rocky, and technical sections in complete control. All this without any bob or biopace problems * the Catamount will never do either in any gear or riding condition. Catamount owners tell us that they are able to clean sections on climbs and descents on their Catamounts that they were unable to do on other bikes.

Mountain Bike Magazine says, "With a high-pivot URT, you always expect Barcalounger comfort when seated. But the Catamount goes beyond that, also providing high-speed pedaling efficiency".

How does the bike handle single track?

The Catamount was designed to be a very neutral handling bike in all types of terrain and at all speeds. The front end will track directly where you point it with very little effort. A Catamount will not fight you to start a turn or to hold a line. In very tight single track, at low or high speeds, it maneuvers with great precision. During high speed descents the bike is very smooth and accurate with perfect control. A Catamount works unlike any other bike on the market. It is built to be ridden hard over the most extreme terrain and still provide the plushest, most controlled, comfortable, and high performance ride of any bike you can buy.

"It made Moab rock garden descents fun, and its stable handling saved my skin on the Slickrock trail". Fred Matheny Bicycling Magazine February 1995.

Are you paying too much for another frame?

Catamount has 2 framesets with 2 price options. All Catamounts are handcrafted.

A Catamount is built at the highest standards of precision and quality. Catamount Cycles can build custom frame sizes. Please refer to the order form for information.

"This is one SWEET bike. . .". raves Fred Matheny of Bicycling Magazine.
Four sizes/150 colors to choose from.
Catamount framesets fit people from 5'4" to 6'3".
We offer complete bike groups.
There are three Shimano groups.
Add to your Catamount frameset a Marzocchi fork to make the perfect balance of comfort, control, and performance.

Zap Espinoza of Mountain Bike Magazine raves "... the (Catamount) MFS went from being a *****in' touring bike to a super-efficient racer." "... all I could talk about was how damn efficient this bike felt." "In the end, I still prefer bikes that provide good handling and comfortable rides,... The great thing about the Catamount MFS is that it seems to be both".


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:17 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
1996 Mountain Bike Magazine Review

Mountain Bike (1996)

COMFORT OR EFFICIENCY? CATAMOUNT SAYS TAKE BOTH.

by Zapata Espinoza


A funny thing happened during my first ride of the Catamount MFS (Mid Frame Suspension). But before we get into discussing Zippy's latest revelations, let's look at the bike. The Catamount is made by a two-person company in Fort Collins, Colorado. Larry Pastor and Scott Still are the two guys, and prior to starting up production last year, they did exhaustive research into rear-suspension designs. "Our goal wasn't as much to come up with something new as it was to develop something that worked well," says Pastor. "The first patent for a unified rear end was back in 1888, so its not like this is an altogether new technology."

Catamount's one-bike line is based on an updated version of that old unified-rear-triangle (URT) design, and it's available in six sizes. Our 19-inch test bike weighed 26.75 pounds, featuring 6061 aluminum, top-quality welds, a top tube that's ovalized at the seat tube, CNC-machined and pocketed dropouts, bridgeless and crimped chainstays (for increased tire and crank clearance), and massive triangulation of the bottom bracket. The price for a Catamount frameset, complete with a Fox Alps 4R shock and pump, is $1,350. Catamount also offers the bike with three different component groups, with prices from $2,200 to $2,850. The company designed its frame around forks with 2.5 to 3 inches of travel. When mated to the rear end's 3.5 inches of travel, this makes for the ideal cross-country set-up.

But what about that revelation?

THE RECKONING

Okay, I just came back from test-riding the Catamount and before I say anything else, I'd like to apologize directly to all my bike-geek, race-oriented friends who are always obsessing over how "efficient" a bike is. I've been known to malign you guys for this (urging you to instead obsess on something real, like how pretty the trail surroundings are). But to Mark, Chris, Cindy, Reece, Wick and anyone else I've dissed, I now say I'm sorry. I've seen the light.

It happened after pumping the Catamount's Fox Alps 4R air shock to a higher-than-prescribed pressure. this gave me a ride quality unlike any I've ever had on a URT bike.

Before I got to that point, thought, I experimented with different air pressures. Since I rode my first URT bike two years ago, I had generally set my shock settings on the soft side, especially on the high-pivot URTs (Schwinn, IBis), The reason was that their design encourages a seated position at all times, so I sought spring rates or air settings that complemented that style. But Catamount suggests that you set up its bike at about 40 psi over your body weights, with 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch of sag. I did that (at 185 psi) and it rode just fine. Next, I tried going softer, to 135 psi, and rode through the same rock-strewn creek bed. With the rear end bobbin all over the place I realized that it's wise to stay near the recommended set-up procedure. Or is it?

When I pumped up the shock to 200 psi, even pushing down on the saddle with my hands would barely get the shock to compress. Given my experience on standard suspension bikes, I figured this one would ride too harshly if the shock were this stiff. Wrong! With the increased seated leverage of the Catamount's high pivot, the MFS went from being a *****in' touring bike to a super-efficient racer. Screw the scenery--all I could talk about was how damn efficient this bike felt.

This IS a revelation: With a high-pivot URT, you always expect Barcalounger comfort when seated. But the Catamount goes beyond that, also providing high-speed pedaling efficiency. The only drawback. Well, as with all URT's, you lose the bump-eating capacity when you stand on the pedals, but if you're into seated comfort and speed, it's a price you might not mind paying.

Other handling notes? The front end was a tad on the light side, as evidenced by the front wheel's wavering on slow-speed climbs. Another surprise was that the bridgeless chainstays don't hurt the rear-end's rigidity at all. In fact, we came away thinking that the Catamount had a tighter rear-end/one-bike feel than the Trek Y-bike. This is no doubt due to the wider pivot, the bottom bracket's triangulation and the massive 7/8-inch-square tubing used throughout the rear triangle. The result is a nice, unified ride. the 23.375-inch top tube was on the long side for an 18-inch frame. Most of our test riders who are used to an 18-inch frame felt stretched out (the 19-inch riders were comfy cozy). Catamount is spot on when it suggests that riders in the 5-foot-10 to 6-foot range should ride the 18-inch frame.

WELCOME TO GEEKDOM

Unified bikes still have a unique ride to them. This is their virtue, but also their curse. Many riders who are used to more traditional rear-suspension designs have yet to embrace URTs. They don't like the active/less-active quality, depending on whether you're seated or standing. And they're bothered by the rear-end rise that happens under hard braking. There was also a noticeable bob in the suspension on steep seated climbs, which cause the more anal-retentive among our testers (the static-leg-extension-is-next-to godliness-types) to have a fit.

If you're making the move to full suspension from a hardtail, though, you won't be hampered by these preconceived notions and biases. Just be aware that the suspension ends as soon as you stand on the pedals. That may be no big deal to you. After all, not many bikes out there with multi-pivot designs offer the ideal, fully active, plush, smooth ride that everyone seems to be chasing. Nothing is perfect. Not yet.

But some things are surprising. I had always considered URTs mostly touring bikes (because they work best when you're seated). Now I'm not so sure. The Catamount offers real race-worthy performance. A bonus: URTs have a penchant for wheelies, which can help you in rough race terrain as you try to move up in the pack (you can literally wheelie past the other bikes in the rough spots).

As unfashionable as the air shock has become, this is a bike where is makes good sense, due to the URT's high leverage ratio. The same air shock that would offer a ton of stiction on a non-unified bike becomes super plush with a unified design. Another selling point with the Catamount is the single pivot, which uses the Gerlock bushing. Catamount says it needs zero maintenance.

In the end, I still prefer bikes that provide good handling and comfortable rides, rather than some bike-geek inspired, praying-on-the-altar-of-efficiency race bike. The great thing about the Catamount MFS is that it seems to be both. It gave me brief entry into the work of geekdom--a place that my underpowered, skinny legs seldom experiences--and I have to admit, I kind of liked being there.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:19 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:14 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles - USA
BIKE Magazine, June 1995

UNIFIED REAR TRIANGLE

by John Kukoda



Like an alien injection of otherworldly DNA into the earthbound gene pool, a species of previously unknown, or more accurately, long-forgotten full-suspension bikes is accelerating the evolution of the species. These newcomers share an elegant, simple innovation that in one fell swoop transcends other designs' incremental improvements in pivot rigidity and shock function.

The innovation is dubbed the "unified rear triangle" or URT. They share a common design that incorporates the entire drivetrain into one rigid structure, which is connected to the main frame at a single pivot point. This eliminates the problem many suspension designs have with the tensioned chain activating the suspension, which wastes the rider's energy.

Multiple-pivot designs, typified by the "Horst link" style of the Mongoose Amp and Specialized FSR (See BIKE, March '94) cancel out this chain torque with additional pivots at the rear dropouts. But multiple pivots add complexity, wear out, and introduce unwanted flex. More bouncing results from the swinging mass of rider's legs. URT designs address all these concerns, and also eliminate drivetrain problems like ghost shifting, not uncommon with other suspension designs. Best of all, URTs deliver an average four inches of plush rear wheel travel.

The URT bikes' most unique trait is their dual suspension function. Because the saddles is relatively far from the pivot point and the crank relatively close, standing on the pedals reduces the leverage on the system, which stiffens the suspension compare to the plushness it delivers when seated. Thus, without any rider-activated lockouts or mechanical gizmos, the plush-riding URT becomes more like a hardtail when standing for a climb or sprint.

The tradeoff is that URTs that stiffen for a standing sprint also stiffen for a rough, standing descent. Again, the resulting harshness varied quite a bit among our test bikes.

On paper, another tradeoff is the change in saddle-to-pedal distance as the shock compresses. I said "on paper," because, while I'm picky enough about perfect saddle height to get stressed over cycling socks of various thicknesses, I was seldom bothered by the bikes' dynamic crank-to-saddle relationship.

The location of a unified rear triangle's single pivot has everything to do with the amount of change between sitting and standing shock action and the amount of inseam change. Among our test stable, comprising of s Schwinn Homegrown, Catamount MFS, Klein Mantra, and Trek Y-22, the difference between standing and sitting compression ranged from subtle in the Trek and Klein to dramatic for the Schwinn and Catamount, while bottom bracket movement varied from a quarter-inch with the Trek, to well over an inch with the others.

A very real compromise is the lack of convenient water bottle locations on all the bikes. Either they were carried horizontally and leaked or they were stuck far from the rider's reach. A CamelBak is the obvious solution.

CATAMOUNT MFS

GENERAL COMMENTS

Catamounts rendering of the URT concept rides a lot like the Schwinn, with which it shares a frame construction of welded aluminum and a Fox Alps 4 shock with adjustable damping. However, Catamount's leverage on the shock is higher than Schwinn's, which means it requires more pressure to deliver a similarly plush ride through its 3.5 inches of travel. Body weight plus 40 pounds is recommended, and while the shock can handle that pressure, some of the pumps Fox supplies cannot. Mine leaked before the pressure was reached.

While a kissing cousin to the Homegrown, the Catamount is no clone. The frame design is cleaner and looks more "traditional"--if that word can apply to such a novel design. The triangular swingarm (versus Schwinn's busier four-sided affair) is constructed out of rigid 7/8-inch square tubing. Geometry, while still cross-country appropriate, is also a bit more speed-oriented, with an inch longer wheelbase, a more rangy top tube, and a less steep 71-degree head tube angle designed around a 2.5-inch travel suspension fork.

Catamount sells only frames, for a reasonable $1,350. For $50 more, you can specify virtually any powdercoat combination.

Catamount's Larry Pastor views his creation as the "ultimate cross-country racer" for rough courses, but acknowledges the bulk of his market is noncompetitors interested in comfort without sacrificing efficiency. No problemo, this bike has both bases covered.

RIDE EVALUATION

While offering the dual rider characteristics of other URTs, the Catamount retains a modicum more shock plushness out of the saddle. The difference is the slightly more rearward pivot, which provides a more forgiving 3.4-to-1 ration between seated and standing suspension action. that;s still not enough give to make the MFS a mindless climber on choppy, loose trails, however. The rider, not the bike, is still the controlling factor.

Our test bike came equipped with a Halson Inversion fork, which worked OK for elastomers, but won't cause the folks at Rock Shox to lose much sleep. On rough descents, the front-end plushness didn't come close to matching the rear's. Singletracking rigidity was great however, with both ends of the bike responding as a single entity.

A whoop-de-do'ed singletrack highlighted the bike's only flaw. Forced to stand by the closely spaced jumps, it felt like the pedals were lifting me skyward over every hump. Adjusting the shock to its hard-damped "4" setting reduced but didn't eliminate the pitching and bucking. On this undulating but otherwise fairly buffed trail, I think a hardtail is the rig of choice.

COMPONENT EVALUATION

From the White Industries hubs and Sampson crankset to the compact Joe's brake levers and titanium American Classic seatpost, this Cat was a veritable swagfest of High-end doodads. Most excellent was the Marinovative "Cheap Trick" sidepull brake, which offered one-finger lockups and good modulation. It's a $50 option with the frame and one I'd recommend, since the Catamount has no provision for normal cantilever routing.

No tire is perfect everywhere, but the bike's Onza Aggro front tread didn't cut it anywhere I rode. It became a fat brown slick in Colorado mud and washed out at the slightest provocation in New Mexico sand. But I've hear it's awesome on some fabled, possibly mythical surface called "hardpack," whatever that is.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:40 pm 
North Wales Deputy AEC
North Wales Deputy AEC
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Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:50 am
Posts: 6218
Very nice - have bid and lost on one of these a couple of years ago (on US eBay). Seem very similar to the Control Tech sweet spot frame I saw on our Peaks ride 2009....

Mr K


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